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What not to forget!

Some things just make life a whole lot easier when you remember to take them with you when going abroad – even though you might not think of them in the first place.
by Pia Knappstein Knappstein_pia

Power strip

 

Photo by Karl Baron

Photo by Karl Baron

Something so small, so easy to forget but nevertheless one of the essential things that you should fit into your suitcase. This way, you need to take less adapters and you can easily charge or use any electronic device you want to without too much effort.

But don’t forget to take an adapter, too!

Tourist guide

Photo by spykster

Photo by spykster

You will probably get a tourist guide before you leave from your parents, family or friends. Make sure to take it and have a look at what you can do! Usually, they have information about the country, culture and also the city you will be visiting. Have a look inside to get some insights about nice spots to go sightseeing, shopping and eating. But make sure to ask the locals for some special tips as well. They will have interesting perspectives and can definitely give you insights that are different than the ones a tourist would get. And that’s the goal, isn’t it?

Something I found really useful, too, is an app called “City maps 2 go”. You can download maps and use them with or without GPS. There are many places with ratings that can be really useful. A good tourist guide I would suggest is the “Top 10”-tourist guide by Dorling Kindersley or the Marco Polo Tourist Guides.

 

Chocolate

Photo by Eric Hossinger

Photo by Eric Hossinger

No matter if you like chocolate or not – the locals you will get to know will definitely be excited to try some candy of the country you come from. Plus, you will really appreciate to have something to offer to people – it is interesting for others and it is a nice way to get in touch with people talking about your own culture. Additionally, I can tell you from experience, that sometimes while you are travelling you are more than happy to eat things you didn’t like before. In Germany, we have a really dark bread called Pumpernickel that I absolutely disliked when I was in Germany. Being abroad for some time, I found it really nice – until I came back to Germany again.

 

Something from where you come from

Photo by Romain Guy

Photo by Romain Guy

Bring something unique to the region or country you come from. It could be a nice wine for your Homestay family, a game you really enjoy to play or music that a local band produces. As you grow into the new culture, and learn many new things, you should give something back to the people around you. For example: I brought one of my favorite games called “Ligretto” and fridge magnets from the city I come from.

Travel Diary

Photo by Frederik Rubensson

Photo by Frederik Rubensson

No matter if you like writing or not, you really should hold on to your memories. You are going to experience so much in the upcoming time that it is almost impossible to keep all of that in mind. Photos capture some of these moments, but it is also nice to have a place to write down funny stories and new impressions. I am 100% sure after your return, you will enjoy flipping through the pages seeing all those memories. It is one of the best feelings going back in time to these wonderful moments. You can also find very nice applications for your computer. Mac users might like Day one that looks very user-friendly and you can also add photos and export it as a PDF file.

Cooking Skills

Photo by Laura D'Alessandro

Photo by Laura D’Alessandro

The saying goes that The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – this is also true for friends and family. You should absolutely be able to prepare a traditional meal or desert for friends and family abroad. This creates an international understanding of the culture and maybe corrects the impression people have on your origin before getting to know your culture. Furthermore, you are going to want to show off with the great things your national cuisine offers! And of course, sometimes you are going to miss your mother’s cooking skills and then it’s up to you to take over the cooking spoon.

How-To Washing Machine

Photo by Christian Senger

Photo by Christian Senger

Although your parents might still be doing your laundry at home, there is no guarantee that your host family is going to do the laundry for you, too. So now is the time to look over your parent’s shoulder and get some tips and tricks how to use the tools you might need. You don’t want your favorite shirt to turn out to be the shirt that is too small since the last laundry load. And even if you don’t need to do your laundry yourself – maybe you don’t want your homestay to wash your underwear.

 


 

Last but not least be sure to bring an open mind and be ready for all the new adventures that will come your way!

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My MLI experience

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by Pia Knappstein Knappstein_pia

I’m Pia and I’m from Germany. My Muskoka Language International experience is not the traditional student experience, but rather a university student experience. What I’m doing is an internship. I have now been with the company for over two months and I feel it has been one of the best decisions that I have made.

When I was 16, my parents gave me the chance to spend 9 months abroad in Auckland, New Zealand. That was when I fell in love with travelling, going abroad and getting to know new cultures. That is also the reason, why I came to Canada to do my internship. I knew that I wanted to do the curricular internship for university abroad and when my boyfriend was accepted in a laboratory here, I had to take the chance.

And now I’m here. And I love it.

So far, what I can tell you about MLI is that it is fun! The team is absolutely fantastic.

The first person I got in touch with was Kathy. I called her from Germany and the first impression was lovely. Every time we talked I was more and more looking forward to go to Canada. She made me feel welcome and valued before I came and she did not disappoint me once I arrived. Every time we talked on Skype I was more and more excited about what was to come.

When Cindy picked me up from the airport, she talked about Muskoka Language International as “the family”. I think that is just the right term for the company. Kathy welcomed me with a hug, I had a long chat with Mike about the company history and we had lots of cake – which was a really nice thing, of course.

I am working for Muskoka Language International with Michelle on social media. When I came, the media presence was… interesting. We started setting up all the different networks, went through all the material and sent many organisational emails. Going through all the photos and videos, I was reminded of the great experiences I was given as a student abroad and I am now being given again during this internship.

iStock_000002411812SmallIf you want to know what the company with the slogan of small town Canada is about, it is really about family. What Mike, Bev and Cheryl want for the students is also what they live behind the windows of MLI. Everybody is welcome, it is personal and everybody is as valued coming as leaving. The team has built very strong ties.

Besides working with Michelle on social media, I got the opportunity to gain some insights into the other departments and understand the different issues that arise and see first-hand how people support each other in problem solving. I don’t know if this is just Canadian nature, however I never experienced this level of teamwork before.

After 2 months of work, I feel that I have now decided the business I want to work in for the rest of my life. I am very much looking forward to all that is still to come. I can’t wait for it!